A number of tidal projects with different design, sizes and conceptual approaches, have been developed in recent years. While the technology has proven to be effective in converting tidal streams into electric energy, the economic viability is still far from being achieved due to unforeseen complications following the installation of the devices.
In this paper, the authors provide an overview of the major challenges tidal energy developers should consider in order to design a viable tidal energy device. In addition, based on past field experiences, the typical issues encountered by offshore contractors during the deployment of one or an array of devices are presented. Therefore, paying special attention to the operational requirements of the devices, the solutions to these offshore challenges are proposed. Hence, a novel tidal concept is presented, using lifecycle O&M costs as a top driver for the development of the device. Subsequently, the iterative improvement of the project is achieved by means of a verified and calibrated integrated framework, based on Monte Carlo simulation and evolutionary algorithms, in order to support the decision-making process and management of the assets. Thus, the pivotal role of computational tools to improve the profitability of the project while ensuring satisfactory levels of availability and reliability is highlighted, and the potential for cost reduction in the design of a tidal energy project, in order to achieve financial viability, is shown.